Martín Vizcarra: how does the effective collaboration of former Minister José Manuel Hernández impact?

Martín Vizcarra: how does the effective collaboration of former Minister José Manuel Hernández impact?

Prosecutor Rafael Vela told El Comercio that the sentence “is a notable advance in the investigation” and that “it outlines the investigation towards, surely, its final term”. He recalled that Hernández “has witnessed the direct delivery of money” to the former president. Vizcarra's defense, meanwhile, downplayed the former minister's contribution to the case.

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Martín Vizcarra: How does the effective collaboration of former Minister José Manuel Hernández impact?

Former President Martín Vizcarra is prosecuted for alleged bribes linked to his management as regional governor of Moquegua

The investigation against former president Martín Vizcarra for allegedly having received bribes related to his management as regional governor of Moquegua has added a key element for his progress. This week, the Judiciaryapproved the effective collaboration agreement between the Lava Jato Special Team of the prosecution, the Lava Jato Case Prosecutor's Office and former Minister José Manuel Hernández, who declared having been the intermediary of bribes addressed to the former president.

The ruling represents, according to the prosecution and specialists consulted by El Comercio, an important element to strengthen the investigations of the former head of state. It was issued this week by Judge Margarita Salcedo, of the Fifth Preparatory Investigation Court of the National Superior Court of Specialized Criminal Justice, who convicted Hernández as the perpetrator of the crime of bribery and imposed a year in prison suspended under rules of behavior.

It also imposed the payment of a civil compensation of S/150 thousand, S/20 thousand for fine days and a series of obligations as an effective collaborator. Among these are not committing new crimes, attending all citations derived from your agreement, asking the court for permission to leave the country and having good “individual, family and social” behavior.

Martín Vizcarra: How does the effective collaboration of former Minister José Manuel Hernández impact?

Part of the sentence to Juan Manuel Hernández as an effective collaborator

The importance of the sentence

In statements to El Comercio, the superior prosecutor Rafael Vela, coordinator of the Lava Jato special team of the Public Ministry, remarked that the sentence to Hernández “is an important decision” for his investigations because it is “the completion of a meticulous and exhaustive work in the corroboration process”.

Everything said and expressed by Mr. Hernández It has been corroborated and controlled by a judge, who has sentenced him to a reduced sentence for a prize benefit, as a result of the very valuable information he has provided”, he indicated.

“Mr. Hernández was a business intermediary and has witnessed the direct delivery of money to Mr. Vizcarra. This has been fully corroborated within the award sentence and it is a notable advance within the investigation, it outlines the investigation towards, surely, its final term, where the Public Ministry will have to determine the accusatory claims”, he said.< /p>

Rafael Vela stressed that Hernández's statement has “a special connotation because he is the one who mediates and personally delivers money to Mr. Vizcarra” and highlighted that his case “is the step prior to what could be the expiration of the investigation stage (…) There is notable progress and a lot of maturity in the investigation process.”

Martín Vizcarra: How does the effective collaboration of former Minister José Manuel Hernández impact?

Rafael Vela (third from left to right) leads the Lava Jato special team, which includes Germán Juárez (first from right), the prosecutor in charge of the Martín Vizcarra case.

On the other hand, the legal defender of Martín Vizcarra , lawyer Fernando Ugaz, downplayed the testimony of José Manuel Hernández within investigation to the client of him. “What he supposedly contributed, before the process begins, are these communication WhatsApps. After that, we have not seen any major elements in their contributions, which are also circumstantial whatsapps that do not show more than what was already there from the beginning of the process”, he told El Comercio.

Fernando Ugaz recalled that the effective collaboration process takes place without them, as the defense of the person being investigated, being able to participate. “This means that I cannot cross out evidence, do expert examinations, cross-examination,” said the former president's lawyer. Now, with the deal approved, he looks forward to confronting his version of himself.

“From our perspective, it doesn't add much. The most important thing is that when the judge issues an approval as a result of a sentence, the collaborator becomes a witness in the process. And by becoming a witness, within the trial, one can cross-examine him (…) That is where we are going to see its content, its scope, what he has declared, what are the corroborating elements”, he stated.< /p>

Martín Vizcarra: How does the effective collaboration of former Minister José Manuel Hernández impact?

Martín Vizcarra's lawyer, Fernando Ugaz, downplayed what Hernández contributed to the investigation and stressed that after his approval as an effective collaborator, he will be able to question him. (Photo: GEC)

Hernández is not the only collaborator in this case. There are also the same companies Obrainsa and ICCGSA, in addition to another construction company, and five former executives linked to them. As this newspaper learned, effective collaboration agreements are already at an advanced stage and each includes both the company and its former directors.

With all this, sources close to the investigation estimated that the preparatory investigation into Martín Vizcarra could end between September and October of this year. After that, the prosecutor Germán Juárez will have to decide if he accuses and, if so, what penalty he requests against the former president and for what crimes.

This is not conditional on the other collaboration agreements being approved first. However, based on experience in similar cases, it is estimated that the eventual accusation advances faster towards the trial stage if the situation of the effective collaborators is defined with a sentence before the investigation is closed.

Martín Vizcarra: How does the effective collaboration of former Minister José Manuel Hernández impact?

Judge César San Martín will face recusal for not inhibiting himself in an appeal filed by the defense of Ollanta Humala and Nadine Heredia, announces prosecutor Rafael Vela. (Video: Canal N)

Key testimony

The effective collaboration process of José Manuel Hernández dates back to October 2020. The denunciation of other collaborators had led the prosecutor Germán Juárez Atoche, of the Lava Jato special team, to initiate a preliminary investigation of the then President of the Republic for alleged bribes related to to the Obrainsa company (linked to the Construction Club) and to the Lomas de Ilo construction concession.

Shortly after, another accusation was included: the alleged bribes from the ICCGSA company (also linked to the Construction Club) to Martín Vizcarra linked to the Moquegua Hospital. It was in this section of the case that the figure of José Manuel Hernández appeared as a supposed intermediary sent by the former governor of Moquegua to ask for the money. For this, the former president is charged with the crimes of bribery and collusion.

“Vizcarra Cornejo, in his capacity as president of the Regional Government of Moquegua and using his position, sent his friend José Manuel Hernández Calderón to contact Rafael Granados Cueto, commercial manager of ICCGSA, to request the sum of S/1,300. 000.00, in exchange for approving the offer presented by the Moquegua Hospital Consortium (made up of the ICCGSA – INCOT companies), stating that, if their request was not accepted, they would not give their consent to sign the contract” , is the imputation of the prosecution.

The accusation appears in the second instance judicial resolution referring to the request for preventive detention that the prosecution made against Martín Vizcarra at the beginning of 2021. In the hearings where discussed that request, prosecutor Germán Juárez revealed that José Manuel Hernández had decided to renounce the confidentiality of his identity as an effective collaborator and said that he declared having been “used” by the former president.

“The collaborator 01-2020, who has authorized its disclosure, is referring to the person of José Manuel Hernández Calderón […] He has indicated that Martín Vizcarra, practically, uses him to be the intermediary between this consortium, which was represented (…) by Rafael Granados [commercial manager of ICCGSA), for that undue payment that he asks for 1 million 300 thousand nuevos soles”, manifested.

In the same hearing, the prosecutor remarked that “José Manuel Hernández's statement is of vital importance in this event.” “This collaborator made available to this office his cell phone, two phones, to prove his version in the sense of the communications he had with Martín Vizcarra regarding this issue of the Moquegua Hospital and the deliveries of money”, explained.

Martín Vizcarra: How does the effective collaboration of former Minister José Manuel Hernández impact?

Martín Vizcarra is being investigated for the alleged crimes of bribery and collusion. (Photo: Congress)/

The evidence presented by the prosecution against Martín Vizcarra led the court to decide that there were elements of serious suspicion regarding the crimes attributed to the former president. However, considering that there was not enough risk of escape or obstruction of justice by the investigated, it was decided to deny pre-trial detention and impose restrictions on his appearance. This measure is maintained to this day. At all times, the former president has denied the fiscal imputation.

Opinions

Criminal lawyer Percy García that the sentence of effective collaboration “supposes that the collaborator has provided a set of duly corroborated information that will undoubtedly weigh on the investigation that follows the former president. It is an important input, the information and the evidence that corroborates it, which should end in an accusation for Vizcarra to defend himself, “he detailed.

He also clarified that the processes of effective collaboration are autonomous and that the sentence to the collaborator does not mean that it can already be said that Martín Vizcarra is guilty in the judicial process that follows. “There he will have to, at the time, formulate the corresponding accusations, go to trial and within the framework of this, contradictory and with the right to defense, the judge will be able to decide on the matter. We cannot automatically conclude that the former president committed crimes,” he explained.

Martín Vizcarra: how does the What was the effective collaboration of former Minister José Manuel Hernández?

Pedro Castillo at a regional government ceremony

Regarding the possibility that the prosecution again request restrictive measures against Martín Vizcarra, the criminal He commented that this will depend not on the new evidence of the merits of the case that is accumulated, but on the fact that the prosecution has elements to prove that there is a danger of escape or obstruction. The absence of these elements, for the Judiciary, was the reason why preventive detention was denied last year.

Criminal expert Cecilia Madrid agreed that this new information could lead to new measures being requested from the person under investigation, as long as the procedural danger requirements are met (flight and /or obstruction.

Madrid added that “although it is true that the existence of an effective collaborator in an investigation does not automatically generate a conviction ( investigated) or the accreditation of everything indicated by the prosecution, it is an important element”

“For effective collaboration is approved, the prosecution has elements that corroborate what the collaborator said, which -I understand- are going to be transferred to the main process (…) I think that it is going to complicate the situation of the former president and it is going to be an important element that the prosecution is going to use to reinforce its incriminating thesis inatoria”, she commented.